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The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us
Author: Nicholas Carr
Publisher: Published September 8th 2015 by W. W. Norton Company (first published September 8th 2014)
ISBN: 9780393351637
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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In The Glass Cage, best-selling author Nicholas Carr digs behind the headlines about factory robots and self-driving cars, wearable computers and digitized medicine, as he explores the hidden costs of granting software dominion over our work and our leisure. Even as they bring ease to our lives, these programs are stealing something essential from us. Drawing on psychologic In The Glass Cage, best-selling author Nicholas Carr digs behind the headlines about factory robots and self-driving cars, wearable computers and digitized medicine, as he explores the hidden costs of granting software dominion over our work and our leisure. Even as they bring ease to our lives, these programs are stealing something essential from us. Drawing on psychological and neurological studies that underscore how tightly people’s happiness and satisfaction are tied to performing hard work in the real world, Carr reveals something we already suspect: shifting our attention to computer screens can leave us disengaged and discontented. From nineteenth-century textile mills to the cockpits of modern jets, from the frozen hunting grounds of Inuit tribes to the sterile landscapes of GPS maps, The Glass Cage explores the impact of automation from a deeply human perspective, examining the personal as well as the economic consequences of our growing dependence on computers. With a characteristic blend of history and philosophy, poetry and science, Carr takes us on a journey from the work and early theory of Adam Smith and Alfred North Whitehead to the latest research into human attention, memory, and happiness, culminating in a moving meditation on how we can use technology to expand the human experience.

30 review for The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kunal Sen

    I loved his earlier book, “The Shallows”, which dealt with the issue of how the Web could be altering our ability to think deep. The book was well researched and well argued. In this book he is raising similar concerns about automation. He uses various examples of how increasing automation is making us loose certain essentially human qualities. Automation is no longer just limited to replacing human perceptive and motor skills, but it is now entering into purely intellectual activities. He argue I loved his earlier book, “The Shallows”, which dealt with the issue of how the Web could be altering our ability to think deep. The book was well researched and well argued. In this book he is raising similar concerns about automation. He uses various examples of how increasing automation is making us loose certain essentially human qualities. Automation is no longer just limited to replacing human perceptive and motor skills, but it is now entering into purely intellectual activities. He argues that this increasing reliance on automation may rob us so some qualities that are essential in defining who we are. He uses examples from various industries including auto piloting in commercial airplanes to self-driven cars and automatic medical diagnostic computers. The problem I had with this book is not in its general conclusions, but the way he arrived at it. It smelled like one of those books where the conclusion is first drawn and then evidences cherry picked to support the thesis. While all the evidences he used are strong and compelling, rather obvious counter arguments are conspicuously absent. I cannot believe that the author, a brilliant thinker, could not think of these counter arguments, but it seems like he deliberately avoided them in order to make his point. For example, a significant part of the book tries to show how the popularity of auto piloting features in commercial aircrafts is causing a deterioration of pilot skills and caused a few accidents that were due to this loss of skills. I am not doubting this fact at all, and I think his conclusion is correct. While he admits that the number of airplane deaths have dropped dramatically since the advent of automation, he avoids the question whether we are better off with more automation, even at the cost of lower piloting skills, or the question of whether piloting skills can be improved through more mandatory simulated training. He also makes some sweeping comments about the limits of computation. He takes it as a self-evident fact that computers can never “think” or have a “mind”. He is not referring to the state of computation today, but he makes a general pronouncement that this is simply not possible. While there is a lot of serious debate about this issue, it is certainly not a self-evident conclusion, and he should have at least mentioned that the jury is still out there on this issue rather than just dismissing it with no attempt at an argument. This is again a sign that he was more keen on winning an argument rather than discovering the truth. There are some portions of the book that raises really interesting issues. He shows that even the gadgets that we use today are making some moral choices for us. For example a robotic vacuum cleaner treats a living insect and any other inanimate piece of dirt equally and would vacuum them both, but a human being may make a conscious decision not to do so. The same moral decision making by machines will get amplified when a self-driven car would have to make a decision between running over a small animal and protecting the car from damage or injury to the passenger. This problem would ultimately shake our moral roots when autonomous machines are used to kill people in a conflict. In conclusion I do believe it is an important book, raising issues that needs to be discussed. I just wish it was better argued.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    The best non-fiction books, in my opinion, shouldn't just entertain you, they should change you. Carr, like in "The Shallows," expertly takes an ubiquitous convenience of modern life -- previously, the internet, and now, automation -- and dismantles everyday idealistic assumption about the benefits of their increasing dominance of our lives. Using a mix of anecdotes, statistics, history, and even the theories of the Luddites and Marxists, Carr provides many convincing reasons why we should think The best non-fiction books, in my opinion, shouldn't just entertain you, they should change you. Carr, like in "The Shallows," expertly takes an ubiquitous convenience of modern life -- previously, the internet, and now, automation -- and dismantles everyday idealistic assumption about the benefits of their increasing dominance of our lives. Using a mix of anecdotes, statistics, history, and even the theories of the Luddites and Marxists, Carr provides many convincing reasons why we should think twice before putting technological progress -- self-driving cars, self-flying planes, self-trading stocks -- before human beings who may not be best served by becoming mere shepherds or monitors of complex systems and algorithms. His chapter about how the brain processes spatial information, for instance, compelled me to turn off my GPS before I lose my sense of direction and become a slave to my smartphone. But Carr is not simply an alarmist. "The Shallows" is still a celebration of technology and progress, but one that asks us to consider the human consequences of its misuse. Carr might not do enough to convince skeptics of his points. At the same time, some of the main conclusions of his chapters are left frustratingly vague. With the data he's presented, much of what he concludes could be stronger stated. Overall, though, it's a fantastic book about a topic that most people don't seem to think enough about.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Praxedes

    Even though I am not a technophobe I find it very difficult to argue intelligently against Carr's outlooks. He is able to put into words what that pestering voice in my head is always hinting at...that automation (especially in internet-based technologies) takes away from us as much as it provides. Automation is undeniably efficient and cost-effective. It makes so much of our lives easier and safer. But there is a price to pay for these treats. As a school librarian I see evidence of how automati Even though I am not a technophobe I find it very difficult to argue intelligently against Carr's outlooks. He is able to put into words what that pestering voice in my head is always hinting at...that automation (especially in internet-based technologies) takes away from us as much as it provides. Automation is undeniably efficient and cost-effective. It makes so much of our lives easier and safer. But there is a price to pay for these treats. As a school librarian I see evidence of how automation is eroding students' abilities for reasoning their way out of problems, of being involved in the world, and of interacting meaningfully with one another. The author presents us with an interesting viewpoint --by removing quotidian challenges automation prevents us from using the cognitive skills which make us more human-- with ample research to back up his claim. Highly recommended even if you do not agree with the premise!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peter Mcloughlin

    Who knew such a short book could be packed with so many disturbing ideas about our relation to computers, robotics and media. With so many tasked offloaded to computing machines and increasingly robots we gain convenience and powers at the same time we lose old skills that helped us autonomously navigate the world. We are offloading memory and calculation, and skills at mundane tasks that our parents and grandparents would have to grind through. We are living more convenient lives increasingly o Who knew such a short book could be packed with so many disturbing ideas about our relation to computers, robotics and media. With so many tasked offloaded to computing machines and increasingly robots we gain convenience and powers at the same time we lose old skills that helped us autonomously navigate the world. We are offloading memory and calculation, and skills at mundane tasks that our parents and grandparents would have to grind through. We are living more convenient lives increasingly of our own choosing but we are losing our autonomy as the gadgets do more and more for us. These trends have some unstable effects on the workplace as many jobs become automated or deskilled and the premium that had to be paid to skilled workers begins to wane and one can detect a hollowing out of the middle class as the newly deskilled find low skilled jobs that robots cannot do yet. Robotics makes the future more problematic as well. As robots used to operate vehicles, and ordinary machinery comes on line it will have to have programmed into its software ethical algorithms to solve problems. A driverless car for example has to decide whether or not to crash into a telephone poll to save the life of a pedestrian. Ethical problems that humans haven't been able to agree upon for thousands of years will now have be encoded into the software of our robots. This is not even mentioning battlefield robots which will be important for quick reaction times on the battlefield will also have to have some kind of ethical software to make decisions about killing potential enemies. As you can see a lot of troubling ideas to digest in such a short book. Definitely worth a look.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jim Nielsen

    I loved absolutely every page of this book. It's not just a book about technology and automation, it's a book about learning what it means to be human.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Xavier Shay

    What if the cost of machines that think is people who don’t? Nicholas Carr's The Glass Cage is an important counterpoint to the dominant automation-at-all-costs mindset of Silicon Valley. That more automation is better is not as obvious a conclusion as many of us would like to believe. Carr is definitely not anti-technology though. This book is level-headed in discussing the positive and negative trends in automation, backed by a large amount of research. From pilots to doctors to inuit hunters, What if the cost of machines that think is people who don’t? Nicholas Carr's The Glass Cage is an important counterpoint to the dominant automation-at-all-costs mindset of Silicon Valley. That more automation is better is not as obvious a conclusion as many of us would like to believe. Carr is definitely not anti-technology though. This book is level-headed in discussing the positive and negative trends in automation, backed by a large amount of research. From pilots to doctors to inuit hunters, Carr present a comprehensive overview of automation across society today. Three themes in particular stuck in my mind. Sharp Tools, Dumb Minds Carr summarises a number of studies that have measured the effect of computer aided learning. One 2004 study presented two groups of people with the Missionaries and cannibals problem. The first group used a computer program that offered step-by-step guidance and prompts for valid moves. The second group used a basic computer program that offered no such assistance. The aidless group was slower to get started, but excelled in the later more complicated stages of the game. The first group, "by contrast, often became confused and would 'aimlessly click around.'" This same lack of fundamental understanding has been documented in the use of real world expert systems, in professions from accounting to medicine. This effect is compared later in the chapter to a calculator: If you use the calculator to bypass learning, to carry out procedures that you haven’t learned and don’t understand, the tool will not open up new horizons. It won’t help you gain new mathematical knowledge and skills. It will simply be a black box, a mysterious number-producing mechanism. It will be a barrier to higher thought rather than a spur to it. Expert systems do help experts be more effective, but you need to be an expert first. Straightjackets Of The Mind Several sections are devoted to medical systems and GPS navigation, two of the more common automation aids in widespread use today. In the medical field, automated diagnosis has led to increased testing, bloated and unhelpful medical records, and excess billing for procedures that would historically have been routine. One of the common assumptions about electronic records is that by providing easy and immediate access to past test results, they would reduce the frequency of diagnostic testing. But this study indicates that, as its authors put it, “the reverse may be true.” By making it so easy to receive and review test results, the automated systems appear to “provide subtle encouragement to physicians to order more imaging studies,” the researchers argue. Further, when using common electronic systems "doctors can begin to display ‘screen-driven’ information-gathering behaviors, scrolling and asking questions as they appear on the computer rather than following the patient’s narrative thread.” As suggested by the earlier studies on learning, this effect is particularly detrimental in stunting the growth of inexperienced doctors. Diagnostic accuracy is only increased when expert systems provide suggestions to the doctor for things they may have overlooked, rather than recommending an actual diagnosis. But these must be set at a threshold low enough that the alerts are actually read. The current trend is to over-suggest: "physicians routinely dismiss about nine out of ten of the alerts they receive." Simarly, GPS systems are stunting the ability of people to navigate. In one study, Some of the subjects were given hand-held GPS devices; others used paper maps. The ones with the maps took more direct routes, had to pause less often, and formed clearer memories of where they’d been than did the ones with the gadgets. Carr however is more concerned by the alienation this causes rather than the direct lack of skill. The automation of wayfinding serves to 'inhibit the process of experiencing the physical world by navigation through it.' [...] But while we may no longer have much of a cultural stake in the conservation of our navigational prowess, we still have a personal stake in it. We are, after all, creatures of the earth. [...] It provides a sense of personal accomplishment and autonomy, and it also provides a sense of belonging, a feeling of being at home in a place rather than passing through it. [...] the more you think about it, the more you realize that to never confront the possibility of getting lost is to live in a state of perpetual dislocation. If you never have to worry about not knowing where you are, then you never have to know where you are. This is a recurring theme throughout the book. What are we losing in our relentless pursuit of technology? Utopian Promise The concluding chapter was also perhaps the scariest. Carr considers possible futures, particularly ones in which the relentless drive to automation frees society from the shackles of work to enable the pursuit of leisure. He does not find this scenario plausible: It strains credulity to imagine today’s technology moguls, with their libertarian leanings and impatience with government, agreeing to the kind of vast wealth-redistribution scheme that would be necessary to fund the self-actualizing leisure-time pursuits of the jobless multitudes. Quoting Hannah Arendt's The Human Condition, automation confronts us with "the prospect of a society of laborers without labor, that is, without the only activity left to them. Surely, nothing could be worse.” I recommend The Glass Cage highly for anyone working the technology sector. It covers many more issues than the three I covered here, including driverless cars, historical trends, ethics (particularly in regard to military automation), de-humanization, aeronautical automation, and human-centered automation. We wield a great amount of power with the tools we build, and we have a responsibility to weild it wisely.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Caren

    I read this at a friend's suggestion, and I was interested in the material , for the most part. I found myself skimming quickly through some sections when his premise was clear but examples were lengthy. I think my favorite chapter was the last, which is the summation of his thesis. Using a Robert Frost poem about mowing, he meditates on the fact that humans actually need work and that letting machines take over more and more of both physical and mental work is damaging to the human psyche. Carr I read this at a friend's suggestion, and I was interested in the material , for the most part. I found myself skimming quickly through some sections when his premise was clear but examples were lengthy. I think my favorite chapter was the last, which is the summation of his thesis. Using a Robert Frost poem about mowing, he meditates on the fact that humans actually need work and that letting machines take over more and more of both physical and mental work is damaging to the human psyche. Carr is no Luddite; he does realize the benefits of automation. He is just saying,'don't blindly accept every new technology; rather, think about its impact on real people and weigh the positives and negatives carefully.' Here is a quote from page 223: "Automation weakens the bond between tool and user not because computer-controlled systems are complex but because they ask so little of us. They hide their workings in secret code. They resist any involvement of the operator beyond the bare minimum. They discourage the development of skillfulness in their use. Automation ends up having an anesthetizing effect. We no longer feel our tools as part of ourselves....The more automated everything gets, the easier it becomes to see technology as a kind of implacable, alien force that lies beyond our control and influence. Attempting to alter the path of its development seems futile. We press the on switch and follow the programmed routine." Here is another provocative quote, this one from pages 226-227: "The belief in technology as a benevolent, self-healing, autonomous force is seductive. It allows us to feel optimistic about the future while relieving us of responsibility for that future. It particularly suits the interests of those who have become extraordinarily wealthy through the labor-saving, profit-concentrating effects of automated systems and the computers that control them. It provides our new plutocrats with a heroic narrative in which they play starring roles: recent job losses may be unfortunate, but they're a necessary evil on the path to the human race's eventual emancipation by the computerized slaves that our benevolent enterprises are creating....There's a callousness to such grandiose futurism. As history reminds us, high-flown rhetoric about using technology to liberate workers often masks a contempt for labor. It strains credulity to imagine today's technology moguls, with their libertarian leanings and impatience with government, agreeing to the kind of vast wealth-redistribution scheme that would be necessary to fund the self-actualizing leisure-time pursuits of the jobless multitudes. Even if society were to come up with some magic spell, or magic algorithm, for equitably parceling out the spoils of automation, there's good reason to doubt whether anything resembling the "economic bliss" imagined by Keynes would ensue." He continues this line of thinking on page 228: "The social and economic problems caused or exacerbated by automation aren't going to be solved by throwing more software at them. Our inanimate slaves aren't going to chauffeur us to a utopia of comfort and harmony. If the problems are to be solved, or at least attenuated, the public will need to grapple with them in their full complexity. To ensure society's well-being in the future, we may need to place limits on automation.We may have to shift our view of progress, putting the emphasis on social and personal flourishing rather than technological advancement. We may even have to entertain an idea that's come to be considered unthinkable, at least in business circles: giving people precedence over machines." Amen to that. There is a lot to think about in this book. It would be a wonderful selection for a book discussion group.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Chris Ziesler

    The Road Less Traveled My first question on seeing this book was, is it going to be as successful and thought-provoking as Carr's previous book The Shallows? The answer is an unequivocal, "yes!" If you've not read The Shallows I recommend that you consider reading it first because many of the thoughts and ideas from it are continued, developed and extended in The Glass Cage. It's not a necessary prerequisite but it would enhance your appreciation of Carr's arguments. Carr's central thesis can be su The Road Less Traveled My first question on seeing this book was, is it going to be as successful and thought-provoking as Carr's previous book The Shallows? The answer is an unequivocal, "yes!" If you've not read The Shallows I recommend that you consider reading it first because many of the thoughts and ideas from it are continued, developed and extended in The Glass Cage. It's not a necessary prerequisite but it would enhance your appreciation of Carr's arguments. Carr's central thesis can be summed up in a quote often attributed to Marshall McLuhan, "we shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us." Carr's point, which he develops with many intriguing examples ranging from airline pilots, through doctors, photographers, architects, and even to farmers, is that this Faustian pact with technology comes at a cost. The cost, in Carr's view, is a loss of direct, experiential, formative contact with our work. The consequences of this slow loss of familiarity and connection with our work are subtle, insidious and will only increase while we follow this technocentric approach to automation. Carr is excellent at making his case. Most of his examples are familiar and those that less so, such as the automation of legal and medical opinions are interesting in that they affect us all. I felt that where Carr was less strong was in proposing solutions to the problems he raises. He works hard at explaining an alternative vision calling on the poetry of Robert Frost's as a springboard to a more humanistic approach to developing tools, but it is hard work selling an alternative to the easy, convenient future that so many of us seem to crave. Ultimately it may be that Carr's biggest contribution will not be to single-handedly derail the future that Google, Apple, and Amazon wish to sell us, an exceedingly unlikely outcome, but to at least make us aware that there is a choice that we are making when we choose the frictionless path to the future, and that we should carefully consider that choice before we make it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bob Schnell

    Advanced Reading Copy review Publication date September 2014 Are smart phones making us less intelligent? Is technology a tool or a temptation? Who or what is the slave or master in our relationships with our automation? These and other questions are explored in "The Glass Cage" By Nicholas Carr. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is written for both technophiles and technophobes to take a step back and examine where modern technology has taken us and where it might lead us if we don't lead it. Fr Advanced Reading Copy review Publication date September 2014 Are smart phones making us less intelligent? Is technology a tool or a temptation? Who or what is the slave or master in our relationships with our automation? These and other questions are explored in "The Glass Cage" By Nicholas Carr. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is written for both technophiles and technophobes to take a step back and examine where modern technology has taken us and where it might lead us if we don't lead it. From autopilot and GPS to searchless answers and invisible interfaces, the author guides us through a minefield of musings on what it is to be human when we start to allow machines and algorithms do our work and much of our thinking for us. Fascinating and frightening, this book might cause a lot of people to look up from their screens to see where they are.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Henrik

    I have a different edition of the book. Very interesting and a fair warning to the potential dangers of automation. I do not always agree with his conclusions but that's not important. It is a book well worth your time.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Barb Middleton

    My husband's brain is better than a GPS. Usually, we scrap using the GPS machine because his navigating skills are better and more accurate. Basically, that's this book's message in a nutshell. The increased automation in society and the downsides of not honing skills that take time and experience (such as navigation) are leading to the loss of human-centered automation and over-reliance on technology. While Nicholas Carr acknowledges the wonder of increased speed and efficiency in technology-ce My husband's brain is better than a GPS. Usually, we scrap using the GPS machine because his navigating skills are better and more accurate. Basically, that's this book's message in a nutshell. The increased automation in society and the downsides of not honing skills that take time and experience (such as navigation) are leading to the loss of human-centered automation and over-reliance on technology. While Nicholas Carr acknowledges the wonder of increased speed and efficiency in technology-centered automation he looks at ways that this has led to problems in flight, self-driving cars, architecture, health care, the stock market and more. While it was interesting and well-researched, I got tired of the endless examples proving, for the most part, the same point. The historical aspects had unique tidbits and the shift from the industrial revolution to the technological infrastructure made me wonder how to apply the pros and cons of technology on a global scale. I did want more discussion and research on the effects of technology reducing the middle class in America. Carr has an easy-to-read writing style and is engaging if a tad long-winded.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Victor Gabi

    Started strong and interesting but finished discussion kind of weak.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Doc Opp

    I don't agree with everything in this book. But it was 1) very well written and 2) made me think. And that's what I'm generally looking for in non-fiction. The author's points are fairly nuanced, although he often focuses too much on failures (e.g. if introducing technology will cause 20 car crashes that wouldn't have otherwise happened, while preventing 200 car crashes that otherwise would have, he focuses on the former and brushes over the latter)... while he correctly identifies flaws in tech I don't agree with everything in this book. But it was 1) very well written and 2) made me think. And that's what I'm generally looking for in non-fiction. The author's points are fairly nuanced, although he often focuses too much on failures (e.g. if introducing technology will cause 20 car crashes that wouldn't have otherwise happened, while preventing 200 car crashes that otherwise would have, he focuses on the former and brushes over the latter)... while he correctly identifies flaws in technological adoption, he often greatly overestimates unassisted human ability. That said, there are a lot of excellent points in this book, most importantly that we really ought to be deliberate in how we adopt tech into society, or else it will change our lives and culture in unanticipated ways that we may not desire. Despite its occasional flaws, this is a book I recommend to anybody who has interests on how technology and humanity do and ought to interact.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Julie Ehlers

    As I previously expressed in my review of The Circle (109 likes and counting!), I am suspicious of, even alarmed by, people who try to persuade the rest of us to unthinkingly embrace new technologies in the name of progress, regardless of how we may actually feel about those technologies. My vague objections have found eloquent and comprehensive voice in The Glass Cage. Technology works best, Carr argues, when it enables us to live more fully in the world. Much of today's computer automation doe As I previously expressed in my review of The Circle (109 likes and counting!), I am suspicious of, even alarmed by, people who try to persuade the rest of us to unthinkingly embrace new technologies in the name of progress, regardless of how we may actually feel about those technologies. My vague objections have found eloquent and comprehensive voice in The Glass Cage. Technology works best, Carr argues, when it enables us to live more fully in the world. Much of today's computer automation does the oppposite: Our memories deteriorate, because we can Google everything instead of having to call it up from our brains. Our sense of direction and awareness of our surroundings deteriorate, because we can use GPS and Google maps instead of paying attention to the context of our route. Using software, we can design buildings, write songs, make movies without really knowing how to do any of those things, and our art suffers as a result. We can fly planes without knowing how to fly planes (with occasionally disastrous results). If self-driving cars gain in popularity, we'll be able to drive a car without really knowing how to drive a car (presumably, with occasionally disastrous results). We adapt our lives to the new technologies and our lives get smaller as a result. The technology becomes the master, and we become the slaves, instead of the other way around. And unlike earlier technological advances such as electricity and indoor plumbing, we have not even the vaguest sense of how it all works. We trust that the innovators have our best interests at heart even though that notion falls apart under the slightest scrutiny. This book packs a lot into 230 pages and all of it is important. It gets a wee bit repetitive toward the middle, thus forcing me to knock a star off my rating; a few more real-world examples would've been nice, not because I didn't believe what Carr was saying, but just to make things a bit more entertaining. Fortunately, the book picks up again with a discussion of the ethics of robots: On an icy road, a dog (or a child) runs in front of your self-driving car. Trying to stop on the ice could injure you or total your car, but not trying to stop could kill the dog (or the child). How does the self-driving car decide what to do in this situation? Or, more to the point, how is the inventor going to program the car to make this decision? Isn't this something we should be deciding for ourselves? What about in a situation with even higher stakes, like using robotic "soldiers" in a war? From this point on, the book read very quickly and its moral urgency was obvious. By the end, Carr and I were definitely speaking the same language: "Resistance is futile," goes the glib Star Trek cliche beloved by techies. But that's the opposite of the truth. Resistance is never futile. If the source of our vitality is, as Emerson taught us, "the active soul," then our highest obligation is to resist any force, whether institutional or commercial or technological, that would enfeeble or enervate the soul. I received this book via a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Doseofbella

    The Glass Cage Automation and Us By: Nicholas Carr Philosophy/Society Norton & Company, Inc. 2014. Pages. 232 Copy Courtesy of Goodreads First Reads Reviewed by: tk Eye opening, thought provoking, superbly written from beginning to end. Nicholas Carr introduces the ideals of automation in a extraordinary collection of detail, explanation, and examples of how our daily lives are being manipulated by machines. I am not saying that is his intent. I am saying is that his compiled information in simple The Glass Cage Automation and Us By: Nicholas Carr Philosophy/Society Norton & Company, Inc. 2014. Pages. 232 Copy Courtesy of Goodreads First Reads Reviewed by: tk Eye opening, thought provoking, superbly written from beginning to end. Nicholas Carr introduces the ideals of automation in a extraordinary collection of detail, explanation, and examples of how our daily lives are being manipulated by machines. I am not saying that is his intent. I am saying is that his compiled information in simple language for a lay person as myself, was absolutely terrifying. Carr looks at the effects and outcomes of our daily decisions, and how we come to those decisions could possibly be not entirely our own. Most every household has a computer, or two. Ipods, Ipads, phones, tablets, gaming, the list goes on and on. How are these items controlling us? I interact with electronic devises daily, and I bet you do also. I wonder who is collecting the data that I am receiving and sending. I wonder if I should be concerned if anything information is being misinterpreted, or misrepresented in any way. The accumulation of facts that Carr has complied is over whelming. A simple quote, “Sharp tools dull minds”. Consider the implication of just a quote. I remember what it was like before all these tools came into play. No microwaves, cell phones, computers, and what not. I fell life was simple, and full. Now…is it to easy, convenient, needed to complete ourselves as part of society, or are we becoming puppets on a string. A MUST READ. You will have to decide for yourselves. I think this book should be required reading for everyone. This book is a tool, although not electronic unless your reading on an e-reader. I sincerely feel that even though some of the ideals are thought about, you never look outside of the box, to see what we are becoming, or where we are headed. The definition of ourselves are being diminished by the automation that we use. Please for you, your children, and your friends, read this book. Just be aware so your not totally in shocked into oblivion. Highly recommended. 5/5

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carol Bakker

    "This is a book about automation, about the use of computers and software to do things we used to do ourselves. It's about automation's human consequences." Scene one: I raised my eyebrows when my GPS directed me onto a dirt road. My car climbed up the side of a mountain, no guardrails between me and the canyon below, the road the width of one car while I white-knuckled the wheel. I had exhibited automation bias, slavishly following a faulty model even when my instincts warned me. Scene two: I v "This is a book about automation, about the use of computers and software to do things we used to do ourselves. It's about automation's human consequences." Scene one: I raised my eyebrows when my GPS directed me onto a dirt road. My car climbed up the side of a mountain, no guardrails between me and the canyon below, the road the width of one car while I white-knuckled the wheel. I had exhibited automation bias, slavishly following a faulty model even when my instincts warned me. Scene two: I visit my doctor, and watch her watch a screen and type while I answer her questions. This is the new physical examination. Scene three: after clicking through 23 Facebook notifications you wonder what you've saved and what you've spent. If these scenarios resonate with you, you'll enjoy reading The Glass Cage. Carr argues that our lives have not benefited from all the stuff our smart phones, computers and tablets do. "We're happiest when we're absorbed in a difficult task, a task that has clear goals and that challenges us not only to exercise our talents but to stretch them." I'm a sucker for any discussion of the interface between technology and culture, but I was seduced by the syntax, by the sentences that sang. Then he ends the book by examining a Robert Frost poem, "Mowing." And. I learned the etymology of robot: "The very word robot, coined by a science-fiction writer in 1920, comes from robata, a Czech term for servitude."

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sara Watson

    I got an advance copy of Nicholas Carr's The Glass Cage for a book review, but I backed down from writing it. Carr continues to be a contrarian voice to counter the main trends in technology, yet critiques without offering up alternatives to the dominant trajectory he is reacts to, in this case, automation. He equates automation in consumer tools like Siri to the automation of piloting commercial airplanes, altogether unhelpfully broad definition. The book is too wideranging to be helpful, and e I got an advance copy of Nicholas Carr's The Glass Cage for a book review, but I backed down from writing it. Carr continues to be a contrarian voice to counter the main trends in technology, yet critiques without offering up alternatives to the dominant trajectory he is reacts to, in this case, automation. He equates automation in consumer tools like Siri to the automation of piloting commercial airplanes, altogether unhelpfully broad definition. The book is too wideranging to be helpful, and ends with a romanticized, idealized a view of technology as extensions of bodies (in the scythe sense of a tool that enhances work capabilities) rather than taking humans out of the work entirely. Carr makes genedered arguments about the emasculating effects of automation, without considering the female embodied perspective at all. He dabbles with historians who have worked on the narratives around technolgical progress, but does little with their insights. And that, I suppose, serves as my belated review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    D.C. Lozar

    As a physician deeply concerned about the interposition of technology between my profession and the patients we care for, I found Nicholas Carr's books - The Shallows and The Glass Cage - as part of my research for a non-fiction book I'm writing for McFarland Publishing. Nicholas's writing has validated my fears, provided well-researched and annotated support for his arguments, and led me down several new paths of thought I had not considered. This book is superbly written, informatively, engagi As a physician deeply concerned about the interposition of technology between my profession and the patients we care for, I found Nicholas Carr's books - The Shallows and The Glass Cage - as part of my research for a non-fiction book I'm writing for McFarland Publishing. Nicholas's writing has validated my fears, provided well-researched and annotated support for his arguments, and led me down several new paths of thought I had not considered. This book is superbly written, informatively, engaging, and, if you buy the audio version, narrated. If you've noticed that your doctor spends more time doing data entry than they do listening to you, these two books will hint as to why. I would recommend both books to anyone in the medical field and to anyone who feels that their creative edge, their focus, and intelligence may have been waning. It might not be you - Our computer's speedy processor may be making us all a bit slower.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This book made me feel a bit better about some of my 'old school' tendencies. For example, if I'm going somewhere and need a map, it has to be on paper. I've tried using the GPS on my phone, but I end up getting even more lost. I was trying to find the British Library the other day and Google Maps sent me off in the direction of Pluto, and in the end I tried something radical... I asked someone! He looked very surprised, but gave me easy directions and I found it in minutes. I'm not leaving home This book made me feel a bit better about some of my 'old school' tendencies. For example, if I'm going somewhere and need a map, it has to be on paper. I've tried using the GPS on my phone, but I end up getting even more lost. I was trying to find the British Library the other day and Google Maps sent me off in the direction of Pluto, and in the end I tried something radical... I asked someone! He looked very surprised, but gave me easy directions and I found it in minutes. I'm not leaving home without a paper map again! Anyway, it turns out that stuff like map reading is good for our brains, and automation is making us lazy, and bored. So my main takeaway from this book was that tech/robots don't have to everything for us, and they don't always do it better when they do. Oh, and I should probably learn to fly a plane, just in case...

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mahmoud

    کتاب نگاه عمیقی به تاثیر استفاده از فناوری (به مفهوم عام کلمه، نه فقط کامپیوتر) بر مهارتهای اجتماعی انسان دارد. حال که گریزی از بکاربردن فناوری نداریم، پس چه بهتر که راهی بیابیم که مغلوب ساخته دست خود نشویم. نویسنده نشان میدهد چگونه فناوریهای نوین، و پرکاربردترین و گستردهترینشان، اینترنت و موتورهای جستجو بر شیوه زندگی و عادات ما تاثیر گذاشته و چگونه موجب شده است که برخلاف ادعاشان در گسترش اطلاعات، منجر شوند کمتر تعمق کنیم و به تدریج «کمعمق» و سطحی شویم. «قفس شیشهای» بسط همین مفهوم به رایانه و ات کتاب نگاه عمیقی به تاثیر استفاده از فناوری (به مفهوم عام کلمه، نه فقط کامپیوتر) بر مهارت‌های اجتماعی انسان دارد. حال که گریزی از بکاربردن فناوری نداریم، پس چه بهتر که راهی بیابیم که مغلوب ساخته دست خود نشویم. نویسنده نشان می‌دهد چگونه فناوری‌های نوین‌، و پرکاربردترین و گسترده‌ترین‌شان، اینترنت و موتورهای جستجو بر شیوه زندگی و عادات ما تاثیر گذاشته و چگونه موجب شده است که برخلاف ادعاشان در گسترش اطلاعات، منجر شوند کمتر تعمق کنیم و به تدریج «کم‌عمق» و سطحی شویم. «قفس شیشه‌ای» بسط همین مفهوم به رایانه و اتوماسیون است. هر چند هر فناوری‌ای در زمان خود نوین محسوب می‌شود.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Victor

    A good reminder in this day and age of automation that we MUST not take things for granted. This widened my perspective on how automation may not always be good. We need to be critical to what we accept as normal in our lives, and what role technology plays. Technology should be tools to advance the human experience. It is not always about the end, sometimes it is about the labor. Without challenge, life loses its meaning. Sometimes it is about experiencing the world, as it is, unadulterated by t A good reminder in this day and age of automation that we MUST not take things for granted. This widened my perspective on how automation may not always be good. We need to be critical to what we accept as normal in our lives, and what role technology plays. Technology should be tools to advance the human experience. It is not always about the end, sometimes it is about the labor. Without challenge, life loses its meaning. Sometimes it is about experiencing the world, as it is, unadulterated by technology that we find ourselves, gain new skills.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Zeke

    I loved this book. It describes in detail how machines, robots, automation, and software have changed how humans work. While automation offers many benefits (such as allowing humans to forego monotonous, routine tasks so we can focus on tasks requiring higher cognition or judgement), it can also be debilitating (such as the case of pilots losing certain skills). Given the increasing prevalence of software automation and talk of super A.I., this book encourages us to think critically about how we I loved this book. It describes in detail how machines, robots, automation, and software have changed how humans work. While automation offers many benefits (such as allowing humans to forego monotonous, routine tasks so we can focus on tasks requiring higher cognition or judgement), it can also be debilitating (such as the case of pilots losing certain skills). Given the increasing prevalence of software automation and talk of super A.I., this book encourages us to think critically about how we design work.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Pedro L. Fragoso

    This is easily one of the most important books I have ever read, should be compelling reading to any aspiring science-fiction writer. Extremely intelligent and brilliantly reasoned through, a marvel. The foremost theme of the book is the current trend towards human stupidification given the widely chosen automation paradigm in play, and its chilling consequences. Gourmet good for thought. "Like meddlesome parents who never let their kids do anything on their own, Google, Facebook, and other makers This is easily one of the most important books I have ever read, should be compelling reading to any aspiring science-fiction writer. Extremely intelligent and brilliantly reasoned through, a marvel. The foremost theme of the book is the current trend towards human stupidification given the widely chosen automation paradigm in play, and its chilling consequences. Gourmet good for thought. "Like meddlesome parents who never let their kids do anything on their own, Google, Facebook, and other makers of personal software end up demeaning and diminishing qualities of character that, at least in the past, have been seen as essential to a full and vigorous life: ingenuity, curiosity, independence, perseverance, daring. It may be that in the future we’ll only experience such virtues vicariously, through the exploits of action figures like John Marston in the fantasy worlds we enter through screens." "What Merholz calls the “it just works” design philosophy has a lot going for it. Anyone who has struggled to set the alarm on a digital clock or change the settings on a WiFi router or figure out Microsoft Word’s toolbars knows the value of simplicity. Needlessly complicated products waste time without much compensation. It’s true we don’t need to be experts at everything, but as software writers take to scripting processes of intellectual inquiry and social attachment, frictionlessness becomes a problematic ideal. It can sap us not only of know-how but of our sense that know-how is something important and worth cultivating. Think of the algorithms for reviewing and correcting spelling that are built into virtually every writing and messaging application these days. Spell checkers once served as tutors. They’d highlight possible errors, calling your attention to them and, in the process, giving you a little spelling lesson. You learned as you used them. Now, the tools incorporate autocorrect functions. They instantly and surreptitiously clean up your mistakes, without alerting you to them. There’s no feedback, no “friction.” You see nothing and learn nothing." "But this sunny story carries a dark footnote. The overall decline in the number of plane crashes masks the recent arrival of “a spectacularly new type of accident,” says Raja Parasuraman, a psychology professor at George Mason University and one of the world’s leading authorities on automation. When onboard computer systems fail to work as intended or other unexpected problems arise during a flight, pilots are forced to take manual control of the plane. Thrust abruptly into a now rare role, they too often make mistakes. The consequences, as the Continental Connection and Air France disasters show, can be catastrophic. Over the last thirty years, dozens of psychologists, engineers, and ergonomics, or “human factors,” researchers have studied what’s gained and lost when pilots share the work of flying with software. They’ve learned that a heavy reliance on computer automation can erode pilots’ expertise, dull their reflexes, and diminish their attentiveness, leading to what Jan Noyes, a human-factors expert at Britain’s University of Bristol, calls “a deskilling of the crew.” Well, enough of this dystopian universe of our current reality (the last paragraph of the book notwithstanding); because of Carr, I've taken a detour, going back 150 or so years and immersing myself, these latest days, in Thoreau's Walden: "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." I realize that's been downhill all the way, but there's the clear intimation of better ways, of roads not taken even if clearly marked. As Maruja Torres wrote somewhere, "A los hombres siempre les ha gustado mucho reunirse y discutir, y hacer ver que toman decisiones consensuadas que van a convertir el planeta en un lugar mejor. Luego viene la realidad, y les derrota." I am not so sure that we have grounds to be hopeful.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Cornwall

    Convincing, with a tedious closing chapter. I recommend this book to anyone concerned about the effects of technology in our lives and especially in technological unemployment, deskilling or lethal autonomous robots (LARs). Mr. Carr does a good job of documenting problems that come from an unquestioning attitude towards a technocentric view of progress. Unlike The Shallows this book appears to be less reliant on what Mr. Carr's friends experienced and is more research based. Anecdotes do exist, Convincing, with a tedious closing chapter. I recommend this book to anyone concerned about the effects of technology in our lives and especially in technological unemployment, deskilling or lethal autonomous robots (LARs). Mr. Carr does a good job of documenting problems that come from an unquestioning attitude towards a technocentric view of progress. Unlike The Shallows this book appears to be less reliant on what Mr. Carr's friends experienced and is more research based. Anecdotes do exist, but they are deployed to illustrate research and not offered as proof in their own right. Two things I very much like about the Glass Cage are 1) The loud call to question the assumption that technology will always create new jobs that will replace the old ones it destroys --implying the need to think about the implications of a society with a built in 80% unemployment rate; and 2) The reminder that there are tradeoffs in adopting a given technology - we often find the tradeoffs acceptable, but we should remember that they're always there and need not always be a net positive. Mr Carr offers the example of Electronic Medical Records (EMR) where what we've lost in doctor-patient interaction does not seem to have been balanced out by greater efficiency and cost savings. In fact, there appears to be decent evidence that EMR is actually raising health care costs while cutting down on doctor-patient interactions and MAY also be de-skilling doctors. I also appreciate the stories that show how people's attitudes and behaviors change once a technology is seen as key to their lives. I have seen this evolution in my own life with smartphones. Growing up I saw nothing at all negative about not being able to call someone when I was out of the house. I hiked everywhere with no way to call in an emergency. I left my hiking plan with a friend or later, my spouse and that was that. Now I feel like I must carry a fully charged phone with me when I hike - just in case. Though I haven't yet refused to hike somewhere without cell service -- which are abundant here in Southeast Alaska. Our network of fjords make it unlikely we will ever have total coverage here. I have delayed hikes to give my phone time to charge. What I didn't appreciate about the book is Mr. Carr's last chapter "The Love the Lays the Swale in Rows." He attempts to use a Robert Frost poem to bring his book's ideas together and wrap up loose ends. I don't think it works well, but then I've never been into poetry. Though I think it is fair to say that the time that Mr. Carr must take to explain Frost distracts the reader from many of Mr. Carr's excellent points. Sort of like decorative graphics on a PowerPoint screen. Overall though, it is an educational read and one that will make me think as I consider what technologies to adopt at home and recommend at work. If you want to explore these topics further, Mr. Carr has provided numerous citations in the "notes" section of the book. Finally, if you do read this book, you might be interested in the book Zero to Maker , by David Lang. It is the story of a web content developer who felt totally deskilled by the tech he worked with and his search to re-skill himself. While we're not all going to be maker entrepreneurs it is a practical demonstration of how we don't have to passively accept what technology gives us. There are opportunities to poke it at and make it our own.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dai Duong

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Nicholas Carr vẽ ra một viễn cảnh u ám và chưa có lời giải cho mối quan hệ người-máy, một sử thi có từ buổi đầu tiên của con người cho đến những bước tiến vũ bão gần đây. Con người vốn là một sinh vật yếu đuối nhưng có một trí tưởng tượng hùng mạnh vượt xa những gì cơ thể có thể làm được. Và thế là chúng ta tạo ra những cỗ máy. Ban đầu, máy móc như là một phần nối dài của cơ thể, chúng cho ta một cánh tay khoẻ hơn, một cặp mắt tinh tường hơn hay một đôi chân nhanh hơn. Rồi theo thời gian, bộ phận Nicholas Carr vẽ ra một viễn cảnh u ám và chưa có lời giải cho mối quan hệ người-máy, một sử thi có từ buổi đầu tiên của con người cho đến những bước tiến vũ bão gần đây. Con người vốn là một sinh vật yếu đuối nhưng có một trí tưởng tượng hùng mạnh vượt xa những gì cơ thể có thể làm được. Và thế là chúng ta tạo ra những cỗ máy. Ban đầu, máy móc như là một phần nối dài của cơ thể, chúng cho ta một cánh tay khoẻ hơn, một cặp mắt tinh tường hơn hay một đôi chân nhanh hơn. Rồi theo thời gian, bộ phận nối dài ấy trơt nên mạnh mẽ, khôn ngoan và trở thành mối đe doạ với công việc của chính con người. Những cuộc chiến đã nổ ra với sự xuất hiện của máy dệt, máy may, hay các máy công nghệ lấy đi công việc của các thợ thủ công. Lịch sử cho ta thấy, máy móc luôn là kẻ chiến thắng bởi chúng tạo ra vô số của cải mới cho giới chủ và các chính trị gia. Nhưng trong mọi cuộc chiến đó, sau khi thất bại, con người đã học hỏi và thay đổi theo, chúng ta hằng tin rằng có những địa hạt mãi mãi là của con người, máy móc không thể nào chạm tới. Cho tới gần đây. Xe hơi tự lái, phần mềm hỗ trợ bác sĩ và kiến trúc sư, phi công tự động trên máy bay, trí tuệ nhân tạo - những công nghệ đang ở các giai đoạn áp dụng khác nhau nhưng đều đánh mạnh vào sự tự tin của con người, máy móc đang tiến vào tất cả các địa hạt "người" nhất... và làm ngày một tốt hơn. Khi máy móc làm tốt hơn, chúng ta sẽ giao nhiều quyền quyết định hơn cho máy, khi làm vậy, những kỹ năng của người làm việc với máy sẽ thui chột dần, chúng ta lại càng tin tưởng máy hơn.... và cứ như vậy . Vòng xoáy này đặt ra một câu hỏi nghiêm trọng: khi máy móc có thể làm mọi việc của con người tốt hơn, rẻ hơn, không bãi công, không đòi tăng lương... thì còn cần CON NGƯỜI để làm gì? Carr đưa ra một khuyến nghị rằng thiết kế máy móc nên quay trở lại với ý tưởng nguyên sơ: máy móc phục vụ con người và trở thành trợ thủ thay vì cạnh tranh với con người. Ông cổ vũ công nghệ trọng tâm con người thay vì Công nghệ trọng tâm công nghệ. Nhưng bản thân ông không đủ tin tưởng rằng khuyến nghị này có thể trở thành hiện thực bởi những lợi ích mà công nghệ đang mang lại cho những người sở hữu chúng. Vì tâm lý đó, cuốn sách có một đoạn kết hô hào nhưng không mấy thuyết phục về những gì sẽ và nên diễn ra sau thời đại của chúng ta. Cuốn sách cung cấp quá nhiều thông tin để nghĩ và đặt nhiều câu hỏi chưa có lời giải cho người đọc, do đó mặc dù viết về công nghệ, nó vẫn mang đầy hơi thở triết-sử. Sắc màu lo lắng thể hiện trong mạch văn càng về cuối càng rõ rệt. Cá nhân mình cho rằng, cũng như những cuộc đụng độ trước đây, cuộc cách mạng này sẽ lấy đi công việc của vô số người nhưng sẽ tạo ra vô số cơ hội mới. Vấn đề chỉ là kỹ năng nào, kiến thức nào là quan trọng để thành công và giành lấy những cơ hội mới. Lăn tăn chiều cuối năm!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Canadian Reader

    Carr sometimes presents specialized information from technical or scientific fields with insufficient clarifying detail for the lay reader. For example, drawing on the work of certain neuroscientists, he discusses how GPS systems may erode memory in general and may be contributing to dementia. He then goes on to provide a rather opaque summary of some fairly complex research (by said neuroscientists) which is too brief to be intelligible. Likewise, in discussing medical professionals' deference Carr sometimes presents specialized information from technical or scientific fields with insufficient clarifying detail for the lay reader. For example, drawing on the work of certain neuroscientists, he discusses how GPS systems may erode memory in general and may be contributing to dementia. He then goes on to provide a rather opaque summary of some fairly complex research (by said neuroscientists) which is too brief to be intelligible. Likewise, in discussing medical professionals' deference to "evidence-based medicine" and diagnostic computer prompts (the latter are apparently a feature of most electronic medical records programs), Carr suggests that open-minded consideration of alternate diagnoses and experimentation with varying treatment plans may be limited, circumscribing physician insights and knowledge and possibly compromising patient health. Once again, specific examples would have been welcome to show more plainly how automated medical algorithms can be limiting. True, Carr does provide some examples related to the field of radiology diagnostics (apparently, computerized programs will identify potentially concerning patterns in mammograms but threaten to draw the radiologist's attention away from other--less obvious--anomalies), but examples that might be relevant to the average person in his visits to his GP were missing. While reading THE GLASS CAGE, I frequently had the sense that I was only minimally grasping points. I would have appreciated fewer examples that were more thoroughly discussed. Carr's assertions about automation essentially alienating workers from their work are clearly made. His book is interesting at times, but I mostly found it a rather joyless slog.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nelson Zagalo

    I’ve really enjoyed previous book from Carr, “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains“, however I can’t say the same of this one. The principal idea behind the book is much less convincing, not as well researched, neither argued. Carr fails in pursuing an impartial perspective, biasing interpretations, weakening conclusions. The central argument follows the same idea of his previous book, synthesised in this phrase by George Dyson, “What if the cost of machines that think is people I’ve really enjoyed previous book from Carr, “The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains“, however I can’t say the same of this one. The principal idea behind the book is much less convincing, not as well researched, neither argued. Carr fails in pursuing an impartial perspective, biasing interpretations, weakening conclusions. The central argument follows the same idea of his previous book, synthesised in this phrase by George Dyson, “What if the cost of machines that think is people who don’t?”, only that now his concerns moved from the internet to automation. Carr spends the entire book discussing cases that support the vision: the more we automate the world, the less alive we’ll feel and be. Even if I can agree with some of his speculations, the main problem is that Carr never discusses, neither present any contra-argumentation. Carr picks a subject and follows the dissection through a tunnel approach. As an example, Carr spends and entire chapter speculating about the effects of GPS in our abilities to map the world, to gain sense of the environment, but he never brings into discussion the inmate differences between people that are good at mapping, and people who aren’t. My overall impression, even if I see Carr as a good thinker, the lack of background in psychology and AI weakens his interpretations. Saying that computers can never think, is not really understanding what we’re made of. This can be an interesting book to introduce people to current technologies of automation, however I would advise caution, otherwise people will feel that should avoid, resist as Carr even puts it, automation.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Barbara McVeigh

    Nicholas Carr has created a niche examining the effects of new technologies on human nature and culture. Students and teachers who have seen me reading The Glass Cage have initiated quite a few discussions about the content of the book. Today we talked about studying "old school" with books, specifically how to use print dictionaries and their advantages and benefits. I don't expect students to stop using Google, but I appreciate that Carr has provided ideas and examples of why we sometimes shou Nicholas Carr has created a niche examining the effects of new technologies on human nature and culture. Students and teachers who have seen me reading The Glass Cage have initiated quite a few discussions about the content of the book. Today we talked about studying "old school" with books, specifically how to use print dictionaries and their advantages and benefits. I don't expect students to stop using Google, but I appreciate that Carr has provided ideas and examples of why we sometimes shouldn’t take the easy way out: “What if the cost of machines that think is people who don’t? (113). Even though they are not specifically about education, I do enjoy reading Carr's books as they do provide a critical context in which to examine how students are learning in the 21st century. School boards are embracing technology, but teachers are frustrated at gaps in students’ abilities. I highly recommend that teachers read his works to understand why the kids can't do the things we used to take for granted, and to talk to students about why some of these skills are worth preserving. My blog post - Sharp Tools, Dull Minds and Magical Thinking: http://barbaramcveigh.blogspot.ca/201...

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fred Rose

    As a former automation engineer, most of this material was not new to me but the author covered the key points in an accessible form for the general reader. Some of the anecdotes are just spin. For example, if a driver follows their GPS off the road, that's just stupid and these same drivers would do something stupid if they were following a map. But others, like issues with autopilot, are real. In the end, I rated the book a little higher than I might because I thought he gave some good thoroug As a former automation engineer, most of this material was not new to me but the author covered the key points in an accessible form for the general reader. Some of the anecdotes are just spin. For example, if a driver follows their GPS off the road, that's just stupid and these same drivers would do something stupid if they were following a map. But others, like issues with autopilot, are real. In the end, I rated the book a little higher than I might because I thought he gave some good thorough advice on how to use automation but still do core things to keep your skills, and how that affects learning. So don't always rely on your GPS, use a map or just intuition or just get lost once in a while.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Belcher

    Carr did have one interesting and important observation. Humans learn through practice. And if we stop practicing a skill it becomes rusty. Therefore, if we rely on humans to perform a skill in "life or death" situations (like flying a plane) we should keep that skill well-honed and not allow it to become rusty. I couldn't find anything else in the book worth reading. Carr follows the now well-worn formula of weaving together a narrative from history and odd facts, but he doesn't successfully crea Carr did have one interesting and important observation. Humans learn through practice. And if we stop practicing a skill it becomes rusty. Therefore, if we rely on humans to perform a skill in "life or death" situations (like flying a plane) we should keep that skill well-honed and not allow it to become rusty. I couldn't find anything else in the book worth reading. Carr follows the now well-worn formula of weaving together a narrative from history and odd facts, but he doesn't successfully create a complete picture that is interesting or compelling. Just because automation has had unintended side effects in piloting aircraft, doesn't mean automation dehumanizes us in general.

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